MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A major announcement from Shelby County Schools Monday morning is creating new challenges for some parents.
Before Monday’s announcement, roughly 80% of parents chose the virtual option, but for one family it wasn’t an easy decision.
”This has been really hard. We really went back and forth for a long time,” said Sylvia Crum.
She and her husband Teddy struggled with whether or not they should send their two children, 7 and 10-years-old, back to Idlewild Elementary in the fall.
However, the Crums say after watching the rising COVID-19 numbers, they ultimately chose the virtual option.
Luckily Sylvia’s job allows her to work from home.
”I will be home but I also need to do my job so we’re really not sure what this is going to look like, but I know we’re really blessed and in a situation that a lot of people aren’t in that I can be home and work here and be able to be supportive of the kids,” said Sylvia.
So for parents working full-time outside the home, there are some options.
If you’re an essential worker, the YMCA still has spots open for free childcare at several locations. You can find those locations here: www.ymcamemphis.org.
SCS is working with the YMCA to provide childcare support during virtual learning.
Those plans are not quite finalized, but should be released soon, however, for the Crum family it’s not just childcare that is a concern -- it’s how relying on a digital device for 6 and half hours a day could affect their children’s learning.
”Developmentally, I mean I’m 43 and I‘m not doing a good job sitting in front of a computer that long,” said Teddy Crum who is also a 5th-grade teacher in SCS.
According to district leaders, he will have the option to either teach virtually from home or inside the school with no children present but not all teachers will have that option.
On Monday, Memphis/Shelby County United, a group of educational stakeholders, held a “Die-In” at the Shelby County government building in downtown Memphis.
They want school districts across Tennessee to also choose to be 100% virtual.
”We applaud Dr. Ray for sending the kids virtually but there’s a lot of districts around here, a lot of municipal districts, don’t have that option. I’ve got friends that work in that district but they’re going to be like live rats in a cage,” said Will Kelley who was one of the participants at the event.
All of the Shelby County municipal school districts have either a hybrid plan or parents can choose an all virtual or in-person learning experience.
The Crums say they are happy that everyone in SCS will be under the same plan, but this coming year certainly won’t be an easy one.
”No matter what parents’ situation is, this is going to be a heavy lift this year,” said Crum.
To help with childcare assistance during virtual learning, the YMCA says they are still looking for community organizations and or churches that would like to partner with them to help host virtual learning sites.
If you are interested, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org